Dear Parents and Carers,
I trust that you have had a fantastic summer break and managed to enjoy some sunshine. We have been overjoyed at the amazing KS4 and KS5 results that our young people have achieved this summer, despite what they have been up against. I am sure that your young person has a mixture of emotions about returning or starting at UTC Plymouth. Despite the current climate, I would like to reassure you that we are completely ready and prepared to welcome all of our students as well as 24 new members of staff. It really is a very exciting time to be a part of our growing UTC family. However, it is important that you are confident that we are doing everything we can to reduce the risks of transmission of the virus and ensure that UTC Plymouth can open safely and sensibly to all our students in the new academic year.
We have very successfully welcomed over 70% of Years 10 and 12 into school at the end of last term from 15th of June, therefore we are extremely confident in our systems. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students that have been on site, for their compliance and understanding of the new regulations. With their support, we have learned a lot about how to manage all students returning in September safely. Here are the details of our reopening plans:
Dates of return for Year Groups in September
New Year 7 Monday 7th September
New Year 9 Tuesday 8th September
Years 10, 11 and Sixth Form will return to school on Wednesday 9th September
All students will be provided with an induction programme in order to understand the new regulations in school e.g getting used to one way systems, hand washing and sanitising, social distance queueing and their year group ‘bubbles’ within their new timetables.
Year Group Bubbles
In order to comply with government guidance and keep our students safe, each year group has been divided into year group bubbles. This essentially means that each year group will have a designated entry and exit point and classrooms just for them to use. Aside from practical subjects, the staff member will move to the students and they will remain static. In cases where students are partaking in practical activities (these will be greatly minimised), stringent cleaning measures are in place. All classrooms have been arranged so that students will be front facing and sitting shoulder to shoulder if they cannot be 1m apart We have removed any unnecessary furniture so that teachers can have a 2m distance from students as they face them to teach Each year group will also have a breakout space for morning arrival, break time and lunch times. Students will eat their lunch in these areas.
Exit and Entry Points
Year 7 - blue - entry/exit via the quad to the Stairwell by engineering. Breakout space in the Basement Hub.
Year 9 -yellow - entry/exit via the Ground Floor hub (the normal student entrance). Breakout space in the Ground Floor Hub.
Year 10 - lime - entry/exit via the quad entrance by the changing rooms. Breakout space in the First Floor Hub.
Year 11 - red - entry/exit via the quad entrance by reception. Breakout space in the Second Floor Hub.
Year 12/13 - pink/peach - entry/exit via the workshop entrances. Year 12 breakout space in 053.
Shared spaces are indicated in green and staff only spaces in turquoise.
In addition, classes for KS3 will remain in tutorial groups in the same classroom for the majority of lessons. Shared spaces for practical lessons are indicated in green. I have included our site map for your information as sometimes it is useful to see plans visually. As a result of having different entrances, there will be no need to have staggered start times. Our KS3 students already have an earlier finish to our older students therefore this will fully support regulations.
As you may be aware, recently the Government changed their advice surrounding the wearing of face masks in schools. The guidance will now state that the wearing of face coverings by students and adults in Secondary Schools should be worn whilst moving around corridors and communal areas, where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Our local area has an incredibly low rate of Covid 19 infection and transmission and, as a school, we have taken stringent measures and precautions to minimise risk. Therefore, in line with the Government guidance, we will not be making the wearing of face masks mandatory in any area of the school.
However, we absolutely recognise that some students will feel more comfortable wearing a face mask in the corridors and the classroom and we are happy for them to do so. Please note that masks must be plain in appearance, no logos or motifs, and must be worn appropriately and sensibly. Any student intentionally misusing a mask will be required to take it off.
UTC School Day Timings
Years 10,11,12, 13
Breakfast Club (Optional)
Breakfast Club (Optional)
End of day-
College open for private study
End of day-
College open for private study
*Year 7 (Mon 7th/Tues 8th) and Year 9 (Tuesday 8th) 8:30 am - 2:30 pm. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer the parent event on site that we had planned for previously. Hopefully, you will have watched our virtual open evening and Q&A session.
Break and lunch food:
We have had a new system installed in school for ordering food at break and lunch. This will be delivered directly to the year group breakout areas where the on-duty staff member will be responsible for ensuring it’s distribution. We will inform students on how to order their food once training has been completed.
Please note: Where possible, I would advise students to bring their own packed lunch as this will minimise the need for food distribution. As we can no longer use our water dispensers, we encourage all students to bring their own flasks of water or juice. Fizzy drinks are not permitted.
Just to confirm, uniform pick-up days are: Wednesday 2nd, Thursday 3rd until 4:30pm and Friday 4th September (until 2pm)
If for any reason, your young person’s uniform has not arrived, it is obviously fine for them to wear their own clothes. Please can I ask that you attempt to wear clothes in similar colours and style to our uniform.
We are pleased to announce that we will shortly be accepting payments online for items such as dinner money, school trips and lockers. Using a secure website called ParentPay you will be able to pay online using your credit / debit card or by making cash payments at PayPoint stores.
ParentPay will be our preferred method of making payments to school as it offers benefits to both you as Parents and to the school as follows:
- ParentPay is easy-to-use and will offer you the freedom to make online payments whenever and wherever you like, 24/7.
- The technology used is of the highest internet security available ensuring that your money will reach school safely – offering you peace of mind
- Payments can be made by credit/debit card or also through PayPoint.
- Full payment histories, balance alerts and statements are available to you securely online at anytime
- Creates more time to lend to educational support and the smooth running of the school
- Improves school security
- Using ParentPay also ensures that all financial transactions are safe and secure - helping us to remove costs associated with us having to manage cash securely on the school premises
- The more parents that use ParentPay, the greater the benefit is to our school
We will send you your account activation details next week when the school opens to Staff and will provide help with setting up accounts. Should you already have a Parent Pay account for another school, there is a way to link the accounts but we will provide full instructions.
We would respectfully ask all parents/guardians to park in the first car park on the left hand side as you drive towards the school site between 8.10 am and 8.40am when dropping your son/daughter off and when collecting them. Please see the site plan which highlights the car park with red arrows and shows where you access the car park. As with all schools, parking spaces are not guaranteed and so this car park should be used on a first come, first served basis. Once the car park is full, particularly at the end of the day, you should ensure you find a safe on-street parking space. Can we also please remind you that the speed limit of 5mph around the school site must be adhered to, to ensure the safety of our students. There is a one way system for leaving the site. Drive past the school building until you reach the gates. These will open using a sensor.
It is vital that all students are fully equipped for school as we are unable to lend equipment at this time. If you have any issues, please contact us. All students need to provide their own basic equipment including: Pens, pencils, coloured pencils, ruler, protractor, compasses, pencil sharpener, rubber, highlighters and scientific calculator. All engineering students in the sixth form will be provided with a basic toolset including a welding helmet.
At present, we won’t be issuing lockers to students as we want to minimise students congregating in corridors and the need for extra cleaning. In the meantime, students can leave belongings in their classroom. There will be lockers in engineering for KS4 and 5 students. We have a spare supply of PPE.
Whilst we know most families will be delighted that schools are reopening, there may be some parents or children who feel anxious about returning: if this applies to you, please do not suffer in silence. Please contact us as soon as you can and we will work with you to ensure you have all the answers you need, to help you feel reassured and to address any concerns you might have. Everyone will need to play a part in keeping the virus out of school and we will, of course, need your help. We very much appreciate your support in working with us in a number of ways, including:
- If your child or somebody else in your household has Coronavirus symptoms, they must stay at home until tested and advised that they can return. Government guidance says that if there is a confirmed case at school then we should work with the relevant health authorities to ensure that everyone who was in close contact with them when they were infectious is notified and self-isolates for fourteen days – in reality, this is likely to be all students and staff they have been in a classroom with.
- We request that students avoid going into shops or cafes on the way into UTC Plymouth and that they walk or cycle to school if they possibly can. If they have absolutely no option but to use public transport, they should wear a face covering while travelling which is in line with current government advice. Prepare your child adequately by reinforcing the importance of good hygiene routines, such as sanitising and washing hands regularly. Also discuss the ways in which school will be different and the importance of adhering to expectations and routines.
I hope I have addressed the majority of your questions about the return plan. Please forward any questions you have that are unanswered and we can add them to the list to make sure you are fully informed. Undoubtedly, the lockdown period has proven challenging for us all, but the resilience and strength of our community throughout has been amazing. Families and staff have pulled together to ensure our students have felt safe and supported, and we have shown just how much can be achieved in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances.
As always, we are keen to hear from you and to receive feedback, so please do contact us with any questions on firstname.lastname@example.org. On behalf of all staff and governors, we want to thank you for everything you have done to support your young person’s success over this period.
Head of School